Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf blastedIranian "interference" in the region, just hours after US NationalSecurity Advisor John Bolton said Tehran was almost certainly behind oil tankerattacks.
The tough stance comes on the eve of emergencyArab and Gulf summits called by US-ally Saudi Arabia to discuss the standoffand ways to isolate Tehran amid fears of a military escalation.
"Tehran's support for Huthi rebels inYemen is proof of Iranian interference in other nations' affairs and this issomething that… Islamic countries should reject," Assaf told a gatheringof foreign ministers of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)in western Jeddah city.
Assaf added that attacks on oil installationsmust be addressed with "firmness and determination".
Two Saudi oil tankers, among fourvessels, were the targets of mysterious acts of sabotage off the United ArabEmirates (UAE) on May 12, and Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels have stepped up droneattacks on the kingdom — one of which resulted in the temporary shutdown of amajor oil pipeline.
The four ships were attacked using "navalmines almost certainly from Iran", Bolton told a press conference in AbuDhabi on Wednesday.
"There's no doubt in anybody's mind inWashington who's responsible for this," he said in a clear reference toIran.
US experts are part of a five-nation team thatis investigating the attacks off the UAE emirate of Fujairah.
The new war of words follows a US militarybuildup that includes the deployment of an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and1,500 more troops to the region.
Bolton said that additional US forces were sentto the Middle East as a "deterrent" and that Washington's responsewill be prudent.